Welcome to Week 15!
How did you get on with finding more time last week?
When you’re ready to feed back on this, here’s the forum link:
How to magically create more time.
This week we’re moving on to deeper-acting mindfulness techniques – but they’re still fun, easy-to-learn and fast-to-use.
And we’re talking about stress…
Most of the stress and pain we feel in life doesn’t really come from the situations we’re experiencing – it comes from the stories we tell ourselves about those experiences.
Don’t believe me? (That’s ok! ;-)) Here’s an article that gives you some background on this: Is Your Monkey Mind Telling You The Truth About Stress?
One of the most life-changing ways to set yourself free from this stress is to practise acceptance – by living in the present moment, mindfully.
This week I’d like to introduce you to a technique that helps you to return to the present moment, coming back ‘here and now’, whilst also practising acceptance.
Acceptance is crucial for cutting your stress levels and feeling happier.
Most of the time, feeling bad about things is a result of the stories we have been used to telling ourselves and the thoughts we choose to feed. We want things to be different, we want people to behave in other ways, but we’re too busy feeding thoseold dramas, to be able to actually change things – or we want to change things that are beyond our control.
Acceptance is about acknowledging – in this moment – how things are and pressing pause on the stories. Then you can choose whether or not to take inspired action.
Then you can choose whether to stick with that sense of “It’s ok” or to use mindfulness techniques to get clarity over which actions you could take.
There’s a difference between ‘acceptance’ and ‘acceptable’.
I have seen this one go wrong, so many times. Psychotherapists even have a fancy term for it – it’s called ‘spiritual bypass’.
What happens is that people dive in with the whole ‘acceptance’ thing and convince themselves that stuff which is really unacceptable is somehow ok.
“Oh but I’m practising acceptance – so I’m not going to take any action on such and such…!”
So they put up with unacceptable situations, behaviours and events, convincing themselves that they ‘should’ take no action, as though they are somehow trying to prove to themselves that they are so emotionally mature or spiritually advanced that it doesn’t matter to them.
This leads to problems, further down the line.
As I said earlier, there’s a difference between ‘acceptance’ and ‘acceptable’.
If something is genuinely unacceptable (rather than what I call ‘stroppily unacceptable’!), then it’s important to take action and to make changes.
You can accept that something is currently unacceptable, without condoning it or pretending that it is ok. (Brain in a spin yet?!) But if you haven’t accepted how things currently are, how can you make changes?
Refusing to accept how things are, in this moment, is like refusing to accept what your SatNav tells you is your current location, but expecting to plan a successful route.
Here’s an exercise to help you practise mindful acceptance – as well as cut your stress levels!
- Take 3 mindful breaths (see week 1).
- Whatever you are doing, pause and simply be still for a minute.
- Allow yourself to be ‘in your body’ and to experience what is happening, in this moment. Slow down.
- See what you see.
- Hear what you hear.
- Feel the sensations.
- Smell what you smell.
- Taste what you taste.
If your mind wanders, gently but firmly bring it back to this mindful moment. Rest in full awareness of your experience of this moment.
- Allow a wave of acceptance – of ‘ok-ness’ – to wash through this experience, in this moment. It is how it is and – in this moment – it’s ok.
- Allow your breathing to relax and your mind to slow down, as that wave of acceptance of this moment helps you to let go – in this moment – of any need to control or to change your experience. Feel the relief as you let go and relax into this moment.
- Notice what has shifted, as you release this exercise.
This Week’s Affirmation:
There’s a difference between ‘acceptance’ and ‘acceptable’. I choose to accept this moment.
So that’s this week’s technique – one mindful minute. Once you have played with this for a while, it can become a near-instant stress-relief technique.
What did you notice?
How was that experience?
Got any questions?
I’d love to hear how you got on with this – here’s where you can share, over at the forum. When you’re ready to feed back on this, here’s the link:
One mindful minute.
Next week I’ll be back with a way you can practise mindfulness – and enjoy the benefits – wherever you’re going :-).